Environmental Conservation

Main Papers

Widespread Coral Mortality and the 1982–83 El Niño Warming Event

Peter W. Glynna1

a1 Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, P.O. Box 2072, Balboa, Republic of Panamá; present address Division of Biology and Living Resources, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric, Science, University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, Florida 33149, USA.

The massive ‘bleaching’ (loss of zooxanthellae) and death of reef corals that occurred in one area (Gulf of Chiriquí) on the Pacific side of Panamá and in the Galápagos Islands during February—April 1983 continued in these areas until September—October 1983, resulting in a catastrophic disturbance. Similar episodes have been reported subsequently throughout much of the tropical eastern Pacific region (Costa Rica, the entire Pacific coast of Panamá, and Colombia), in the central and western Pacific Ocean, in parts of the western Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean coasts of Costa Rica, Panamá, and Colombia), and in the Florida Keys and Bahama Islands.